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The Sugar Cookie Wars – Sugar or No Sugar – Halloween with Homeschoolers

The Sugar Cookie Wars – Sugar or No Sugar 

Paleo Vegeo I Pamela's Sugar Cookies with Coconut Oil
I took on the task of making the Gluten-Free sugar cookies for my daughter’s parent partnership Harvest Party. I’ve never made paleo sugar cookies before, and sometimes the kids look and sniff the goodies I bring to school, but do not try them. I get it, I’m not the most amazing pastry chef in the world, but I am innovative by any means. I bought a package of the Pamela’s Sugar Cookies – but they really are just gluten-free flour and powdered sugar. And the powdered sugar contains corn. Corn is an allergen in my family, as well as others at school so I still had to make my own. The Pamela’s cookies I did take out the butter, and instead used the equivalent in coconut oil (8 tbsp) and then 1 tbsp of the Earth Balance Soy-free Vegan Butter. I was told by one mom that it was the best sugar cookie she’s every had, and she won’t go back to those made with gluten again.

The Paleo Sugar Cookies for Halloween 

Paleo Vegeo I Paleo Vegetarian Sugar Cookies with Coconut Oil Next up was my own cookies. I used the Paleo Parents Not Sugar Cookies as a base design, but I changed a few items. I did add in a about 1/2 cup additional of coconut flour because when I “poured” it out to roll into a log, it really was POURING out. I also added in lemon essential oil because the dough really was bland.

Not Sugar Cookies MODIFED from the Paleo Parents – http://paleoparents.com/2011/not-sugar-cookies-for-the-nut-free-school-dilemma/
Tree Nut Free, Peanut Free, Grain Free (contains eggs)
1 C fresh, Organic pitted dates
1/3 C extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 C Specturm palm shortening
4 Pastured eggs
1/2 tbsp Soy-Free Vegenaise
1 Tbsp pure vanilla
6 drops lemon essential oil
1 1/2  C organic coconut flour

1. In food processor or blender, puree the dates and shortening into a paste. The food processor is easier in my book. The Vitamix wasn’t the best first choice.
2. Add eggs, vanilla, essential oils, vegenaise and coconut oil to date paste and pulse until combined
3. Add /1 cup flour and pulse, continue to add up from the 1/2 cup until a thick dough starts to form.
4. Place extra coconut flour spinkles on whatever you are going to roll your dough log into to reduce sticking.
5. Pour dough onto wrap and roll into a nice sized sugar cookie log. Place in the freezer for about an hour to harden.
6. When hard enough you can slice off 1/4″ thick slices of cookies and place them on a parchment paper on your baking sheet.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 18 minutes (until edges start to turn golden brown).

If the kids use a frosting on top, the moistness of the cookie is just right and they’ll be thrilled. My daughter through they were the best cookies, and that is all that matters, right? Plus I didn’t have to bring full bins of cookies home, so they were a big hit! The Harvest Party was a blast.

Happy Halloween & Harvest Love!!  ~ Barbara

Better Than Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Dip with Apples

Better Than Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Dip with Apples

Better Than Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Dip with Apples I Paleo Vegeo I Barbara ChristensenThere is one thing that has called my name for the last seven years during September and October, and that is Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies. But they are evil, and I’m not going to go there this year I have decided, but I needed something that I could nosh on that was equally as yummy, but would not ruin my healthy lifestyle. That’s when my friend, Allison, came into this story. We took our kidlets to the Hands On Museum last week in Olympia, WA to celebrate and create great memories on September 11th. During lunch she takes an apple, puts it into some dip and hands it over. I was in love. It was pureed sweet potato with cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and coconut oil. Really just delish. And that got me thinking.

The next day I created the same and took it to school for a snack. I was so satisfied after I ate it. The next day is when the real magic happened, however. Think hours of homeschooling mixed with adrenal fatigue and low thyroid. CRASH! So I new I wanted something good, but I need something solid. I started pulling things out of the fridge and pantry and this is when I created the Better Than Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Dip ror my Whole 30 Challenge.

Better Than Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Dip

Better Than Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Dip I Paleo Vegeo I Barbara Christensen

1/2 Can Organic Sweet Potato Puree
1 1/2 tsp Spectrum Decadent Blend
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 scoop of WAVSmart (formerly branded as WheySmart) undenatured whey powder


Warm the first three ingredients for 25 seconds in the microwave.
Add WavSmart Vanilla Bean protein powder and mix.

You’ll end up with an almost pumpkin-ish tasting chocolate chip pudding. Slice apples and use this as a snacking dip. YUMMY!!

Amazingly Yummy Coconut Flour Paleo Pancakes (or crepes)

Coconut Flour Paleo Pancakes

I have to admit, when it comes to my ability to make pancakes, I am generally a failure. My husband is the head chef in the family – and has an amazingly set of recipes that our family adores. But going into a September Whole 30 Paleo Vegetarian challenge I want to be able to feed myself and my daughter, and sometimes that means breakfast when dad is gone at work. I went searching for a recipe and stumbled across the Nourishing Days pancake recipe, but it was really running with the first pancake. Went back and added in an additional cup of coconut flour and left it really clumpy. That seems to be the secret to these delightfully crepe tasting pancakes that my daughter loved. She could barely finish a little more than two of them, she said it must be how yummy they were… I agree the nourishment of a coconut flour pancake over a regular flour pancake is HUGE!

Coconut flour is high in fiber – 9 grams of fiber in a 2 tbsp serving of flour. And it is also low in digestible carbohydrates, only 10 grams of carbs per the same serving. That makes for a healthy paleo breakfast for anyone with only 1 net carbohydrate in the mix. On Mark’s Daily Apple he calls his coconut pancakes, crepes… and without the extra coconut flour really that’s exactly what you will get.

Modified Coconut Flour Paleo Pancakes

Paleo Kids Coconut Flour Pancake recipe I Barbara Christensen I Paleo Vegeo The Paleo Vegetarian

4 organic + pastured eggs, room temperature
1 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure madagascar vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey or a pinch of stevia (Cannot use the honey during the Whole 30 Challenge)
1 1/2 cup coconut flour (this is where I added in extra flour.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
coconut oil for frying (or extra virgin olive oil)


1. Mix wet items together.
2. Mix dry items together. 
3. Incorporate dry items into wet items leaving some texture to the final product. I’d add the dry except the coconut flour. UPDATE : Then start with the original 1/2 cup of coconut flour and when you mix is in do a little at a time until you get the batter you want. In Seattle it took all 1 1/2 cups. In Southern Utah my friend only needed the 1/2 cup. So use your best judgement on that. 
4. Let the batter sit for five minutes while you warm up your griddle with coconut oil. 
5. Add  1/4 cup portions of batter. When the edges start to brown make sure it’s not sticking, when the bubbles stop popping flip your pancake and give it another 45 seconds to brown the other side.
6. Serve with berries and pure organic maple syrup… YUM! = Happy kids! 

Comfort Food for a Paleo Vegetarian – Spicy Bok Choy

Comfort Food For A Paleo Vegetarian if often Chinese

For me it’s spicy bok choy! When I was much younger I worked for a friend’s Chinese restaurant first as a hostess, packaging up take out, and eventually a waitress and then manager of the restaurant. When she opened her Best of Utah restaurant in Salt Lake City I helped her with that venture as well. This was a dream for her after having battled cancer with real foods, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and came out the other side. All of those years the cooks would make lunch and dinner for us when the rush was over, and one of my favorite items they ever cooked was the fresh spicy bok choy. That restaurant was like a family, and the foods, the more authentic cuisine became some of my comfort foods that I turn to, that isn’t a chocolate cupcake.

Spicy Bok Choy with coconut oil 


1 1/4 lb. baby bok choy (approximately 6 heads)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 piece (1 1/2-inch long) fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp coconut aminos
3/4 tsp hot chili paste (I generally use the simply organic or make my own chili oil)


  1. Cut the end off of each head of baby bok choy, and then wash with cold water and drain into a colander.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet or wok set over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic. Stir-fry for about 15 seconds, then add the bok choy. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
  3. Add water, cover with lid, and allow the bok choy to steam until wilted, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the lid, toss bok choy with coconut aminos and chili paste and/or chili oil. 
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat, recover, and allow the bok choy to steam for additional 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

The Brunch Pancake – Farinata (chickpea crepes with mushrooms, tomatoes and artichoke aioli)

Farinata Chickpea Crepes

Paleo Vegeo Barbara Christensen Ocean Avenue and Body FX Founder Farinata chickpea crepes with mushrooms, tomatoes and artichoke aioliI recently purchased the ‘Crazy Sexy Kitchen’ recipe book from Kris Carr and today I decided I was going to make some of the Farinata chickpea crepes to have for breakfast a few days this next week on my meal plan. I figured I’d make some for brunch and then put some away for the week. Good thing I was making extras because they were a huge hit with my kids. I have to say that although I’ve cooked with chickpea flour before, I was pretty unsure about making them. But I don’t know that I’d want regular pancakes after having these, they were really that amazing!

I cooked them on low in one pan with coconut oil, and then sauteed some tomatoes and mushrooms in another pan and it was really easy to make, and fast.

Farinata Chickpea Crepes and Artichoke Aioli Recipe

I modified a little and here is my changes on the amazing recipe that Kris Carr shared in her book:

Paleo Vegeo Barbara Christensen Ocean Avenue and Body FX Founder Farinata chickpea crepes

Farinata Chickpea Crepe Batter
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon Himilayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/3 cups chickpea flour
4 drops rosemary essential oil

Coconut oil (add a tsp before and in between each pancake)

1. In a blender, combine water, salt, pepper, and chickpea flour. Blend until smooth. Add more flour, if necessary, until the mixture is the consistency of slightly thick pancake batter. Lastly add the essential ois.
2. Place pan over medium heat and add enough coconut oil to lightly coat the bottom.
3. I put my batter in a shaker cup.
4. Pour about 1/4 cup of the Farinata Batter into the center of the pan.
5. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes, then flip it over and brown the other side. 6. Set aside on a plate and cover to keep warm while you cook the remaining crêpes, using the rest of the batter and more coconut oil in between each one.

In the Artichoke aioli I went the easy route

Artichoke Aioli
1/2 jar of Annies Lemon & Chive dressing
1 1/2 tbsp of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup of artichoke hearts

1. Place in blender
2. Mix until completely blended.
3. Pour and enjoy

Super yummy 5:2 Paleo Vegeo Soup

Super yummy 5:2 Paleo Vegeo Soup – The Fast Diet for a Paleo Vegetarian

I saw this amazing recipe after watching the documentary, Eat, Fast and Live Longer on PBS recently, and checking out all of the fuss on the UK websites. This book has taken off over there, and I think that when incorporated with a paleo vegeo lifestyle it could really be the secret to aging in a healthier manner.

This is really important to me because this last week my mom called me to tell me that she had skin cancer, and I can be thankful that my niece pushed her to go to the doctor before it could really spread into her tissue or organs. Being able to lower those hormone levels that are attached to aging, and to those cancers really is even more important to me now. I have an adorable daughter that wants me to live to be 104, and I plan to do just that with her by my side.

Now the Intermittent Fasting has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t until I watched the documentary that I really understood the science behind it. Part of the information on the tribe the one doctor was working with was so interesting. I am the girl that is in bed on time, and I could not stop watching this show. It takes a lot to keep my interest, and so you know it was very very good.

Spicy Tomato and Chickpea Soup

The original recipe by Jacqueline Meldrum called for legumes and it was 123 calories for a portion. Now, you can soak your legumes, but they just look to me (in my brain due to their proteins) like soggy peanuts. And I wouldn’t let you as my friend eat a peanut. An almond, yes. So what I did was changed up the protein in this soup. What I found out was that dry, soaked and boiled (35 minutes) chickpeas have a GI of only 10, and a GL of only 14!! Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans as they are also known) can contain up to 29 percent protein, and a 1/2 cup serving provides 7grams of protein for a very small amount of calories and carbohydrates.When you soak the dry chickpeas, drain, rinse and boil it will remove most of the phylates and make them more digestible.You could also not do any chickpeas and toss in a handful of the organic raw cashews from your local natural market instead. 
Low Calorie Spicy Tomato & Chickpea Soup
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 inch/2½ cm fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric (LOVE)
  • 3/4 cup Chickpeas (soak dry beans overnight, drain, rinse and cook for 35 minutes, let cool)
  • 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3 vegan stock cubes, dissolved in 3 pints of hot water
  • Fresh coriander, finely chopped, a spoonful
  • a good grinding of Pink Himilayan salt & black pepper
1. Saute the onion, garlic and ginger in the coconut oil until the onion is soft.
2. Add the spices and mix well until the onion is well coated.3. Pour in the tomatoes, chickpeas and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally as lentils have a tendency to catch on the bottom of the pan.4. Add the coriander and season with salt and pepper.5. Enjoy!

Serves 6

Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers Made with Essential Oils

Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers Made with Essential Oils, oh YUM!! 

With the warmer weather quickly approaching, a healthy grilled meal could be exactly what you need to get in the spring mood. These delicious and easy black bean burgers with essential oils are sure to be loved by everyone in your family.

2 garlic cloves
2 cans or 3 cups cooked black beans (drained and divided)
1/4 cup red bell pepper
2 drops Cilantro essential oil
2 drops Basil essential oil
1 pastured egg
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
Himalayan Salt and ground Pink Peppercorn

1. Soak beans over night, rinse and drain the beans.
2. Put 1/2 of rinsed beans (1.5 cups), yellow onion, garlic, red bell pepper, Cilantro and Basil essential oil, egg, dried shiitake mushrooms, and salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
3. Combine with the remaining black beans and stir. If the mixture is too sticky, add more dried shiitake mushrooms until it holds together.
4. Divide into 4 patties.
5. Heat skillet/grill on medium heat. Add coconut oil.
6. Heat 6 minutes on each side. Be careful when you flip the burgers as they are very delicate.
7. While the burgers are cooking, cut up tomatoes, romaine lettuce, or other desired toppings.
8. Once the burger is cooked, put the burger on either a gluten-free bun or use a big butter lettuce leaf, top with your choice of veggies and desired condiments.
9. Enjoy!

For a delicious side dish, broil some asparagus with a little bit of coconut oil, Himalayan salt, and Lemon essential oil.

The Healthy Mashed Potato – errr…. Smashed Cauliflower

Cauliflower for dinner

Paleo Cauliflower Rice for Vegans

One of my very favorite items to put on the dinner menu is cauliflower. It’s so rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C. You may not have known this about me but I am very allergic to a number of healthy, vitamin C rich fruits. That makes it hard for me to get enough Vitamin C without supplementation (camu camu, or acerola berries) and getting in more options of Vitamin C rich foods, like cauliflower. You can make lots of soups, curry, so many things with cauliflower. In fact I like to use it as a binder in my carnivore husband’s meatballs when I make them.

I like to make Cauliflower Rice as well. Ricing your cauliflower is so easy. Cut it up, run it through the food processor, you can freeze it, and then when ready just cook it in a little raw organic coconut oil. I like to add in onions, mushrooms and paprika for a quick bit of yum.

Smashed Cauliflower Recipe for saving cancer fighting compounds

Smashed cauliflower is every easier. You just have to steam the cauliflower. The reason you steam is so that you do not lose the valuable anti-cancer compounds that you would with boiling it. Then throw it in your mixer, add in any items you want in it (I like to use basil, Earth Balance and diced garlic) and mix. It’s like garlic mashed potatoes without all of the starchy carbs that you would get. Don’t get me wrong, some people love a good mashed potato, especially after a good strength training session, but that doesn’t mean that you have to eat them all of the time.

Cauliflower really is so darn good for you as it is very low in fat and high in dietary fiber. It’s got your folate, water, vitamin C and several phytochemicals.

This yummy little veggie is also a source of indole-3 carbinol which is a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells. Say what? No kidding. It also appears to block the growth of cancer cells. And in this phyto-estrogen rich world we live in, the compound also appears to work as an anti-estrogen, and slows (or even prevents) the growth of breast and prostate tumors. That’s one pretty amazing little natural medicine there in a very tasty bite. One tasty, smashed, garlicy sweet bite.

I Love My Salmon … Fresh and Non-GMO

Salmon, Fresh and Non-Gmo

I am a salmon girl. There is nothing I love more for lunch than a nice salad and a piece of wild caught salmon. A little balsamic and I’m all set for the best lunch ever. The two years that I was vegan, I really only ever missed my salmon. I tried to do lobster for new years… couldn’t do it. Yet there is something that I couldn’t resist about the wild caught salmon that I saw in the store in Washington when we moved up here. I realized Apparently I need some salmon every now and again in my life. 
Now what is really hard for me to deal with, there are these GM animals that may be allowed to be sold for consumption here in the United States, and it looks like it will be a GM salmon. US authorities today began the process to approve the first GM animal for human consumption.
The FDA announced a 60-day period of consultation and public meetings over whether to permit a GM strain of salmon to be eaten by humans, even though it has been called a “frankenfish” by critics. The approval process could take less than a year, and if it gets the green light the fish could be on the market in 18 months. One of the things that the FDA has got to consider, and is considering, is whether, if the fish is approved for consumption, it must be labelled as genetically engineered. Right now the law is not pointing in that favor. I prefer to just continue to buy fresh, wild caught and not have to deal with it.

How do I like to eat salmon

Now about my favorite ways to eat fish…bbq salmon!! So you place the salmon, skin side down, on large piece of greased foil; place over low heat on your barbecue. Close top of barbecue and cook for 10 minutes. After the first ten minutes cut two lengthwise slits in fillet, dividing the surface of the fish in thirds. Cut to the skin, but not through it. Then you want to spread your own special garlic mixture over fillet and into slits. Close top and raise temperature to medium. Cook for an additional 15 minutes or until done. Makes six to nine servings.

Gluten-free Buckwheat Pancakes for the kids

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes

Some of you may still eat buckwheat, or be looking for easier to digest grain options for your kids. Buckwheat is the seed of a plant called “fagopyrum esculentum.” It’s related to rhubarb, not wheat, rye or barley and despite the confusing name, buckwheat is gluten-free. This buckwheat pancake is a good option for kids that I modified from this recipe I saw on the Food Network website:

3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Himilayan salt
1 cup cultured coconut milk
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon raw local honey or molasses
2 large pastured eggs (or flaxseed egg substitute)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups organic blueberries, divided
1/2 cup real maple syrup (optional)

In a large bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, beat together the milk and cultured milk, raw honey, eggs, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine them. Stir in 1 cup of berries.

Preheat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over a medium flame. Ladle the batter onto the skillet with a 1/4-cup measure. Flip the pancake when it is golden brown on the bottom and bubbles are forming on top, about 1 1/2 minutes. Cook the other side until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.